TEXAS, USA — A COVID-19 assistance program is helping people who aged out of foster care take care of their basic needs.
Young Adult Pandemic Aid, or PanAid, provides an opportunity for older youth and young adults ages 18 to 26 who were placed in Texas foster care to get up to $1,000 to afford necessities such as rent, groceries, cellphone bills and more.
Zoe Jones-Walton entered foster care when she was 13 years old. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself through college by working multiple jobs. Now at 23 years old, she is applying to law school.
Last year, COVID put all her dreams at risk as she tried to find her balance.
"I need to work so I can pay to still be here, and so I had to juggle work or do anything to finish this essay that I have for class – four or five classes, actually," Jones-Walton said. "It was tough. It was very tough."
Audrey Carmical, the vice president of legal and regulatory affairs at the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services (TACFS), believes this $9 million program will help these young adults get on their feet.
"This is really a critical population that can fall through the cracks," Carmical said. "That can just really kind of fall through society's safety net."
Applicants will not have to pay back any of the money if they are selected.
There are two eligibility requirements that all applicants must meet in order to fill out the application:
- Aged out of the foster care system in Texas
- Between 18 and 26 years old between April 20, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, when you had financial needs that qualify for assistance.
Eligibility will be verified by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, which has the ultimate say on whether an applicant meets these requirements.
The last day to apply is Sept.15, 2021. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns about the application.
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